Australia Day

Sunday 26 January 2014

Today is not the day to spend celebrating the things we love about living in this country. To continue doing so is an insult to those who were this land's custodians for 60,000 years before Her Maj saw fit to steal it like a criminal out from under their feet.

One of my ancestors was transported here for stealing, too - food, to feed her starving siblings.  Her "criminal" act brought her here, which is how I now call this land my home.  I love this land.  It's not "mine" as far as ancestral lines go, but it's a little bit mine underneath my feet in the only way I want it to be mine ~ not by ownership and titles and deeds all written in flouncy, crappy, obfuscating English.  It's mine in the way that I connect to it.  I fancy, in my more whimsical moments, to be able to feel the songlines that once were its unbroken map.  I love the music, but I certainly don't know how to read that particular musical score.

I have an idea afoot, a personal and professional idea that's been swilling around in my mind and chest for five years in one form or another. It's about creating a space that uses creativity, bodywork, and awesome intellect to explore the possibilities of how to do this life thing in the future, and of doing it in a way that empowers us to take charge of ourselves, to grow wisdom and care for the earth and ourselves, instead of living under this creatively shity drudge and slavery to the visionless and nasty paradigms of those who have been in power too long without being kept in line.

Or something along those lines, anyway. I'm still trying to formulate what it's about.

It's not without some irony that I note that except for wages, the most expensive component by far of this proposed enterprise will be that of leasing land.  Land which was originally fleeced from others. Costing nothing to steal.


  1. I feel the same way about "Columbus Day" we "celebrate" here. "We're so grateful our wonderful European ancestors could come and kill the land's natural inhabitants and claim it as our own." So disrespectful to indigenous peoples, and anyhow Columbus wasn't here first.

    I have an instructor who loves to quote a woman named Lilla Watson who is from Australia (and liked to be known as an aboriginal activist, as far as I can tell). She didn't seem to want to be credited with the quote, but you probably already know all about here.

    Anyhow it's so relevant for all kinds of activism so we use it a lot in one of my courses:
    “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

    Tangent there, but sort of relevant.

    I do love your idea, though! I do hope you see it come to light.

    1. Plus, Columbus was an a-grade arsehole.

      That is a fantastic quote, a perfectly wonderful tangential bow to tie on the top of this post. (My God, I'm very flowery today in my speaking. I think I need to go and have a shower ... or have sex ... or something grounding :P

      I haven't heard of Lilla Watson, so thanks (or at least, I don't remember. We sat watching the Australian Open women's final last night and Anthony found it a little breathtaking that we had seen maybe three of Cibulkova's [sp?] matches the year before but I couldn't remember seeing her ever. Scary).

      I shall have to look Lilla Watson up. That is EXACTLY the ethos for the space I'm hoping to create, and it's EXACTLY the one the government here doesn't use in its dealings with indigenous people. Unless your worldview and paradigms fit into an Excel spreadsheet and a Western mindset, we can't process it.

    2. I haven't been able to find out a lot about her. I did find a couple of her writings in academic sources through the university. Maybe you'll have better luck.

  2. So glad you posted this today, Sue. I've been thinking similar, and mentioned it this morning to my husband.
    I have never seen it as a day to "celebrate". It seems shameful to do so.
    My heart always seems heavy on this day.

    It's now an excuse for many to get fried to a crisp in the sun, whilst getting appallingly drunk.
    Not much contemplation and reflection on the brutal takeover of land from the Aboriginal People who could (truly) call this country home.

    It's not a "right" to live here, it's an honour. The stench of money, greed and power has assailed and covered up so much along the way.
    It is indeed, "Invasion Day".

    1. My cousin told me about a conversation she had on Facebook a few weeks ago, which was about the t-shirt that was being sold in Aldi that said, "Australia: Established 1788." She took umbrage to that and was a little surprised at the vitriolic responses of people who accused her of being the product of a nanny state.

      Wow. Okay. That's what denial does to you. The more we refuse to really accept that we are a nation founded on genocide is probably the more we are going to be susceptible to having morons like Tony Abbott as our Prime Minister.

      I don't know how that fits, exactly. I just know it does.

      Have you ever been to Belgrave Survival Day? My mum and I went last year. A good way to spend Australia Day. I didn't make it there this year because ... well, I don't really know! I'm still in my bathrobe at 1:47 so that might have something to do with it :)

      Cheers to you, love. It heartens me to know that lots of other people struggle with this day too.

  3. Sue, may that superb vision take hold of you, energise you. You got fire. May it spread :)


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